St. John: Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi on Tuesday held Punjab National Bank (PNB) responsible for misinforming the probe agencies, adding that it was unprecedented how his company came to a complete standstill without thorough investigation.
While giving his version of the sequence of events that led to Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raids on his companies, Choksi said in a video statement, “On around January 29, the PNB complained that they detected fraud in their branch for three companies which were Nirav Modi’s companies and one of the alleged people was me.
They (agencies) started raiding our company because of the misinformation by the Punjab National Bank. The agency started raiding my company on February 2 and they went on till February 14-15 and virtually seized all the inventories in the factories and showrooms. Also, my bank account was frozen and my server was seized, the company came to a complete standstill then. I solely hold PNB responsible for misinforming the agencies.”
Choksi continued, “I was not in India as I was having my medical procedure at that particular time. The agencies seized nearly Rs 6,000 crore of my merchandise and properties. There were three agencies raiding me at that time- the CBI, the ED and the Income Tax (I-T). In the meantime, I asked PNB why this happened, and why my name was involved. They said that according to their old KYC of 95 or 93, my name was there and this why they carried on. I had retired from this company in 2000. They misinformed the agencies and I asked the PNB to look into the matter, but they recalled all my facilities (three companies).”
Choksi further claimed that in response to a letter written by his company, the PNB had said that they would like to sit down and resolve the matter.
“I was in terror at that time. I was in the hospital and advised my company to talk to PNB about it. We wrote a letter to PNB and got an answer on February 13 that they would like to sit down and resolve the matter. I was surprised that raids never stopped and they seized nearly Rs 5,000 crores worth of my merchandise. I was shocked at the event. Just after three or four days, I got a new FIR on my three companies. I solely make PNB responsible for misinforming the agency, but more than this, it is unprecedented how my company came to a standstill without deep investigation,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Choksi had said that all allegations levelled against him by the ED were “false and baseless.”
In response to questions sent by ANI, Choksi said, “All the allegations levelled by the ED are false and baseless. They have attached my properties illegally without there being any basis of the same.”
The questions were asked by Choksi’s lawyer in Antigua.
Prime accused in the over USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank scam along with his nephew Nirav Modi, Choksi is absconding and is currently in Antigua.
His statement comes at a time when the Indian government is trying to extradite Choksi to India under the diplomatic provisions.